Bok union scores R57,6 mln for players

2012-06-04 00:00

SOUTH African rugby is to spend close to R60 million this year to improve the lot of the Springbok players and persuade them to parade their talents in this country rather than on the foreign fields of Europe and Japan.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) reached a weekend agreement with the franchises and the players’ association (Sarpa), which will see them fork out R57,6 million in a new remuneration package for 2012.

The deal will be applied retrospectively from January 1 this year and Saru CEO Jurie Roux said the new model contained three key elements:

• Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer would be able to sign as many as 30 players on Springbok retainer contracts. In previous years only 10 to 20 Springboks had been contracted.

• Saru would pay the National Players’ Trust a market-related intellectual property rights fee each year (of which a portion will be directed to the Springbok Sevens Players’ Trust) for collective appearances and the right to use collective attributes of the players in the activations of sponsor partners. In the last two years Saru paid the trust on a per-appearance basis for the use of players’ attributes and appearances.

• An amount has been allocated to recompense provincial unions for the loss of players to the Springbok squad. The Sharks, for example, will be helped by Saru in signing French-based centre Frans Steyn for the next three years.

Roux said: “The players are rugby’s most important assets and we have struck a ground-breaking deal that has increased the pool for Springbok player costs in line with our budget for 2012 …

“The Players’ Trusts exclusively represent the collective players’ image rights and allow us to guarantee exclusive use of those image rights to our sponsors and commercial partners. There is also an opportunity for the Players Trust and Saru to share in other joint commercial ventures. This is an exciting partnership,” he said.

Roux said the overall model was a win-win for Saru and players.

“This is a fairer model than we had in previous years.

“The outcome is that a wider group of Springbok players will be secured for South African rugby and not be lured overseas.”

Sarpa CEO Piet Heymans said the Springbok remuneration agreement also addressed matters such as injury benefits and the remuneration of non-contracted players.

“We had to ensure that injured players will be looked after and that should non-contracted players be selected that they will also be remunerated fairly,” he said.

Roux said the players would be contracted at the conclusion of the England series.

Funds had also been set aside for payments to provinces when their players are called up for Springbok duty. The principle is to assist provinces in remunerating their players when they are on national duty.

“The players and Saru had to make compromises to reach this agreement, but the most important thing is that the players can now concentrate fully on the forthcoming Test series against England,” said Roux.

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